A free programme to help people with diabetes better understand their condition and keep it under control has been launched by health and beauty chain Guardian.
Diabetics can sign up for the 12-week programme at 20 Guardian outlets islandwide.
A Guardian pharmacist will have a weekly meeting to guide them on things like exercise and how to identify food that might cause blood sugar spikes.
Guardian's Diabetic Patient Care Programme was started about two months ago. It aims to encourage people with diabetes to do regular self-monitoring of their blood glucose levels.
So far, around 10 people have signed up for the programme. They are required to take three sets of readings with their glucometer per week, each tied to a meal, as well as a photo of each of those meals.
At the end of every week, the diabetic books an appointment with a Guardian pharmacist to go through the readings and photos, in order to identify any blood sugar spikes and food that may be causing those spikes.
Block 190 Toa Payoh, Hong Leong Building, ION Orchard, Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, Novena Square, Raffles City, Takashimaya SC, Tiong Bahru Plaza, Block 210 Bedok Central, Parkway Parade, Tampines North Drive 2, White Sands Mall, Northpoint, Causeway Point, Block 704 Ang Mo Kio Central, Serangoon Nex, Waterway Point, Bukit Panjang Plaza, IMM and Jurong Point.
The pharmacists will also recommend plans to improve diet, exercise, medication compliance and lifestyle choices.
At the end of 12 weeks, the person will be given a complimentary HbA1c test - a routine blood test for diabetic patients.
Ms Grace Chew, 33, a pharmacist at Guardian's Bukit Panjang Plaza outlet who manages three diabetics under this programme, was surprised at how little they knew about managing their condition.
One person, for example, did not know that the needle he uses to prick himself to check his blood sugar level needed to be changed regularly. Blood that is left on the used needle promotes bacterial growth.
"It could cause an infection and make wounds more difficult to heal," said Ms Chew.
Others did not know that being thirsty or hungry could be a sign of high blood sugar levels.
Ms Chew hopes the programme will raise awareness about diabetes, and provide reliable and accurate information on how to manage it.
"It's convenient and complimentary, and will help the patient avoid unnecessary healthcare bills."